Apple iphone 8 Plus No great leap forward overall, but the camera is the best yet
The eighth wonder
Last year, the iphone 7 cost £60 more than the iphone 6s the year before. This year’s iphone 8 is £100 more again. At least it comes with 64GB of storage as standard, so you probably won’t need to consider the higher-storage option – now 256GB at an extra £150. But to get Apple’s best hardware feature, the larger iphone 8 Plus’ dual camera, you’ll need big hands and £799, or about £60 a month on contract.
We tested the Plus, but the first thing to say of both new phones is that they’re not as different from their predecessors as you might have hoped. Cosmetically, the 8 replaces the metal back with glass, and has little stripes on the sides, which curve in the same way as the 6 and 7, making this yet another new iphone that doesn’t feel particularly new. That’s because the really new stuff is in the iphone X, which won’t be here until November, at £999!
The iphone 8 does have an even faster processor, the A11, so seasons won’t roll by while your favourite website loads. It comes in a different range of colours, dropping the popular Rose Gold (pink) in favour of plain Gold (beige). It’s still water-resistant but not immersible, has no headphone socket (an adapter is provided for Apple’s dinky Lightning port), and – unlike the X – retains a fingerprint reader in the Home button.
One major benefit of the glass back is that this is the first iphone to support wireless charging, via Qi (pronounced ‘chee’ and supported by accessory makers including Ikea). A major drawback of the glass back is that it’s glass – even if Apple reckons it’s super strong. Dropped from a modest height byby peoplepeople online, the iphone 8’s back reportedly just smashes. Apple’apple’s cases ststartt at £3939.
As for the front, we found the 5.5in screen identical to its predecessor, which was excellent but couldn’t quite match the deep blacks of Samsung’s AMOLED screens. The iphone X will have an AMOLED display, but not the 8. Apple does add True Tone, borrowed from the ipad Pro, which adjusts colour balance to compensate for ambient light. This works well and helps avoid tired eyes.
And so to the cameras. The iphone 7 Plus paired a conventional wide-angle 28mm lens with a 56mm telephoto. The Camera app combines these to give a range of ‘zoom’ settings with no pixellation. In Portrait mode, the two cameras combine to fake shallow depth of field, normally only available in more expensive full-size cameras. With new lighting effects in IOS 11, it’s capable of some strikingly professional-looking shots. Each lens now has optical stabilisation, and both 12-megapixel stills and video look fantastic. Industry experts Dxomark rate the iphone 8 Plus the best phone camera ever, overtaking Google’s Pixel phone.
Does that all add up to a must-have iphone? If you already have a 7 Plus, then no. If not, the iphone 8 Plus is a fantastic device, but it costs as much as buying an iphone SE and a Panasonic LX100 camera, which takes better pictures.
Is this a must-have phone? Not if you have a 7 Plus iphone